Proverbs 10:1-10

Proverbs 10:1‑10  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
This chapter begins the less consecutive communications of the book, after the rich presentation of sententious wisdom of more general character seen in the previous nine. We are now introduced to those detached and pithy moral axioms, given to instruct the mind and fasten on the memory for profit day by day.
“The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father; but a foolish son [is] the grief of his mother.
Treasures of wickedness profit nothing; but righteousness delivereth from death.
Jehovah suffereth not the soul of the righteous to famish; but he repelleth the craving of the wicked.
He cometh to want that dealeth [with] a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
He that gathereth in summer [is] a wise son; he that sleepeth in harvest [is] a son that causeth shame.
Blessings [are] on the head of the righteous; but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked. The memory of the righteous [is] blessed; but the name of the wicked shall rot.
The wise in heart receiveth commandments; but the foolish of lips shall fall.
He that walketh in integrity walketh securely; but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.
He that winketh with the eye causeth grief; but the foolish of lips shall fall” (vers. 1-10).
In the first verse is stated the importance of cultivating wisdom in a son, not the acquisition of such knowledge as distinguishes among men or promotes the interests of the family or of himself. Vanity and pride, selfishness and greed, are thus guarded against. That is commended which cannot be without the fear of Jehovah. How sad if God's people were as indifferent as the Gentiles that know Him not? Is Christendom really better now? Is wisdom the aim of the School Board or the Education Council? It makes “a glad father “; as its absence cannot but fall as grief to the “mother” especially. How many sons bright, applauded, and successful end in shame and ruin!
The second carries out the warning of the first verse. “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing.” They may dazzle, and furnish the amplest means of self-gratification. But the end of these things is death; and God is not mocked Who will judge by Him in Whom was no sin, but only obedience in love. Righteousness is consistency with our relationships, the first of which is with Him Who is out of sight and forgotten. Now, as Solomon owned publicly when at the height of his earthly blessing, “there is no man that sinneth not,” righteousness cannot be for any man without looking out of himself to Him Whom God ever meant to send, as all that feared Him knew. The prophets here but emphasized what the faithful acted on from the beginning. To be self-satisfied, or indifferent, is to be unrighteous radically. To believe God and look for the Savior is alone right. He gives one to be righteous as well as justified: “he shall live by his faith;” and there is no other way. Righteousness therefore it is that “delivereth from death.”
Ver. 3 appropriately adds the comforting assurance that Jehovah, Who tries the righteous for their good in an evil age, “will not suffer the righteous to famish; but he repelleth the craving (or, the desire) of the wicked.” There is a righteous government in the midst of all sorts of difficulties, snares, and moral contradictions; the most Willful finds himself checked, as the most tried is sustained and cared for.
In verses 4 and 5 heedlessness is shown to work ruin, no less than more pronounced evil. It was not for such indifference that God made man in His image after His likeness; and when he fell, he got a conscience to know good and evil, as was not nor could be in a state of innocence. So we have, “He cometh to want that dealeth with a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” As man, it is good for him to eat bread in the sweat of his face. An idler is open to evil as well as poverty; the diligent works not in vain. Again, when all is bright and abundant, folly takes its ease and enjoyment; but he is a wise son that gathereth in summer. Thus he that sleeps when he ought to reap diligently must inevitably cause shame, whatever the love of those who are nearest.
Then verses 6 and 7 contrast the portion and the memory of the righteous with the wicked. While blessings are upon the head of a righteous man, to adorn and protect him, the mouth of the wicked is covered by violence, or violence covers it. They proceed farther in ungodliness, and their folly at length becomes evident. Whereas the memory of the righteous man lives as blessed, and the very name of the wicked shall rot.
Wisdom is manifested in lowly obedience (vers. 8, 9). “The wise in heart receiveth commandments; but the foolish of lips (the marked contrast) shall fall.” Man's true elevation is in looking up to Him Who deigns to guide the needy by His counsel. The foolish of lips proves that he neither knows whence wisdom comes, nor distrusts his own emptiness, and therefore shall he fall. But wisdom of heart does not stop at hearing but receives to obey, and is blessed in his doing; and so we are told here, “he that walketh in integrity walketh securely; but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.” He may be sly, and hope to lie concealed; but He Who sees all discloses the evildoer even in the dark day or night.
Very pregnant is ver. 10. “He that winketh with the eye causeth grief.” He may be ever so on his guard, he may not go beyond a sign of his evil eye; but he “causeth grief,” and without defining it farther. It may be grief to himself as well as to others. As before, here it is added that the foolish of lips shall fall. He is not a crafty dissembler, but falls through his outspoken folly.